January 13, 2020
Eating healthy can be a little tough during the colder months. We tend to crave hearty and comforting foods like braised stews, stick-to-your-ribs mac and cheese and big, delicious bowls of ramen noodles. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want as I’m cozying up to the fireplace is a plate of cold salad.
This Warm Braised Bean Salad Will Help You Keep Your Healthy Resolutions
I used to think the word “salad” only described the green kind ― with chilled lettuce and accompanying vegetables. But then I realised a salad can be anything I want it to be. And in the winter, I want it to be a warm one. Enter my warm braised bean salad. It’s a dish I can make on a Sunday night and enjoy throughout the week ― either as a main lunch course or as a side for dinner when paired with a lean protein.The base of this recipe starts with white cannellini beans. I prefer to soak overnight to speed up the cooking time the next day. It also removes the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. Yes, I just said “flatulence.” The key to really flavourful beans lies in just two ingredients ― salt and bay leaves. The bay leaf will make it taste like it’s been cooking all day, and the salt will give it flavour.
After the beans cook, I toss them with some sumac-roasted vegetables and sautéed spinach.
I like to use sweet potato, carrots, red onion and squash, but you can choose whatever fits your taste. Broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash or winter beets would also taste great. Lastly, I dress the salad with a bright, zesty lemon-and-herb vinaigrette. It gives the salad some brightness and acidity to balance the heaviness of the white beans.
This winter, don’t get stuck in a rut eating cold salads. Think outside the box and try this warming, nourishing bowl of beans. The best part? It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and still delicious. Say it isn’t so.Warm Braised Bean SaladServes 4
Ingredients1 pound dried cannellini beans1 bay leaf2 large carrots, peeled and diced1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch half-moons1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced1 squash, halved, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces3 tablespoons olive oil, divided1 tablespoon sumac3 cups fresh baby spinachLemon Herb Vinaigrette1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1/4 cup lemon juice1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for pan2 tablespoons chopped parsley2 tablespoons chivesDirections
1. Rinse beans under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Then transfer to a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the beans, then transfer to a large soup pot. Cover with at least 2 inches of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Toss together cut vegetables with olive oil, sumac and 2 teaspoons salt. Transfer to prepared baking sheets and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until tender and browned.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon, lemon juice and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil until it’s emulsified, then stir in fresh herbs. Set aside.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in skillet. Add spinach and season with salt. Cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
7. In a large bowl, toss together cooked beans, roasted vegetables, cooked spinach and lemon dressing. Season with more salt and serve.
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